SINCE the start of the pandemic, I have adhered to the mantra to act as though everyone else is infected and could affect me and also to act as though I am infected and could infect others.

And nothing has happened since to make me change my mind.

So if I come across other people while I’m out exercising, I make sure to give them a wide berth out of respect for their health and wellbeing, as well as my own.

But something really seems to have changed recently.

I was out for a walk last week, minding my own business and taking care to socially distance myself from the people around me.

Coming towards me on the pavement were three or four teenage girls and it became obvious they weren’t going to make any attempt to socially distance themselves from me – they certainly weren’t making any attempt to socially distance themselves from each other.

In the end, I was forced to step into the road to avoid them.

At this point, one of the girls, realising I didn’t want to pass close by apologised and said something like ‘it’s ok now, you don’t have to stay two metres away’.

She seemed sincere and appeared to believe that the social distance rules had been relaxed.

Where, I wonder, did she get her information from because the fact remains, the two-metre rule is still in place.

It is interesting that people in this country really do seem to think the pandemic is all but over now and doesn’t pose a threat any more.

And yet the facts don’t support that. As I write this, the most recent coronavirus figures for Saturday, June 20, show that 128 people died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Even the government’s coronavirus ‘alert system’ is misleading. Happy days…we’ve gone down from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 so everything’s fine and dandy now, isn’t it?

Well no, it’s not fine and dandy at all.

Level 5 at the start of the pandemic was the level at which the disease was out of control with a risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed.

And for months, the country was at Level 4 with high levels of transmission or the disease rising exponentially.

So it’s good we’re now at Level 3. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Covid-19 has gone away. The definition of Level 3 is the disease is in general circulation. You only have to look at the sudden outbreaks at the meat processing plants to realise it can flare up at any time.

Yes, I concede the situation is better now than in April, but I would be a lot more confident if I thought we had some kind of system in place to actually deal with outbreaks.

The ‘world-beating’ test and trace system is an absolute shambles and the figures appear to back that up.

And what about the fiasco of the ‘world-beating’ test and trace app that doesn’t work on Apple smartphones and has had to be ditched? For me, the app is key for life to start to return to normal. Yes, if I test positive for coronavirus, I can give the details of those people I know I’ve been in contact with but what about all those anonymous strangers I was stood near on my commute to and from Manchester?

No app equals a carriage full of people I may have infected or who may have infected me and without the app, we just won’t know.

We don’t yet have a vaccine (the sooner we do the better) and while some therapeutic improvements have been made to the treatment of patients on ventilators, there are still more than 100 people a day dying from coronavirus.

I do understand the government is under pressure to get the economy going and maybe reducing social distancing to one metre gets pubs and restaurants open again.

But how successful the economy is has little consequence if you’re dead because you needed a pint of lager with your mates down the pub.

But the question I ask myself is do I trust the government to get this relaxation of lockdown rules right? No, I don’t. It was too late going into lockdown and appears to be too quick to come out of it. I fear a second wave but sincerely hope I am wrong.

So I still don’t feel safe and I don’t apologise for that. Please don’t be offended if I step into the road to avoid you.

You may not value your life but I value mine.